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From The CriticsReviewer: Renee Mehlinger, MEd, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This is the first volume in a planned series authored by experts in the field of infant and family mental health. The authors systematically review and integrate experiential and scientific literature to elucidate current information relevant to the infant and the family in the context of an ever-changing society and body of scientific data.
Purpose: The purpose is to examine experiences of the child in the context of the relationship with the mother and the environment, integrating various aspects of genetic contributions and sociodevelopmental and neural influences. Additionally, societal and public policies that are necessary to ensure optimal infant-child development are explored and recommendations are made.
Audience: The book is written specifically for child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists, pediatricians, nurses, social workers, teachers and other clinical professionals in the mental health field. Researchers in the field and administrators of public policy that effect decisions regarding mental health and well-being are an additional audience.
Features: Beginning with an in-depth exploration of the development of the infant and child in response to maternal, paternal, familial and other environmental, cultural, genetic, and societal influences, the authors develop and integrate the emergence of patterns of behaviors and adaptive functions. The responses of the child to the mother's speech, the effects upon cognitive development, bonding through sensory and neural encoding, and social-emotional growth are systematically examined with an emphasis on gaining insight, new perspectives, and practical recommendations for enhancing the process of healthy maturation through infancy and early childhood. The infant and child of the 21st century is conceived in the context of an expanding body of scientific knowledge creatively juxtaposed on the imaginings and dreams of the explorers of mental health from centuries past. A number of tables and figures are used to integrate and consolidate the material. There is a well-developed list of references and a subject index that allow the book to be used in an encyclopedic manner.
Assessment: A high-quality compendium of information from notable experts in the field of mental health, this collection of scholarly and creative writings warrants attention from serious students of infant, child, and family mental health. There is a wealth of current, well-formulated and tightly-organized information in this first volume that sets a gold standard for future volumes.